What affects dog lifespan? Get Your Pet Thinking

How Long Do Mixed Breed Dogs Live?

For mixed breed dogs, owners can use an individual’s weight to help determine how long he or she would be expected to live. In general, small dogs enjoy longer lives than do their larger counterparts. A recent analysis of veterinary records revealed that dogs under 20 pounds had an average lifespan of 11 years while those over 90 pounds typically lived for only 8 years. Medium and large dogs fell in the middle at around 11 years. (State of Pet Health 2013 Report, Banfield Pet Hospital).

But average life expectancy isn’t the whole story. The very definition of “average” means that many individuals will have shorter lifespans while others can be expected to live much longer than the norm. Perhaps a better way to evaluate a dog’s longevity is to convert “dog years” into “human years.” In this way, we can understand just when a dog is an adult, a senior citizen, geriatric, or the equivalent of a human centenarian.

Information about a dog’s expected lifespan won’t help blunt the pain of his or her loss, but it can help owners plan how to best care for their companions during the time we do have together.

Clubs Offering:

Humans have much longer lifespans than dogs. This is a basic fact of dog ownership and one that many owners struggle with when the time comes to say goodbye. While we may wish our dogs could live forever, knowing how long dogs live helps prepare us for their needs as seniors, ensuring that we give them the best possible care throughout their lives so that we get to spend as much time with them as possible.

There are several factors that determine the longevity of dogs, including size, breed, and the general health of the animal. These factors can help answer the questions on most dog owner’s minds: How long do dogs live? And how can I help my dog live longer?

Canine Genetic Age Testing With A DNA Test

Want to find out your pet’s scientific age? Embark and EasyDNA make it simple to determine your dog’s true age with a Canine Genetic Age test that measures a dog’s telomeres’ length at a genetic level.

It then uses that information to compare your pup with more than 95 types of dogs in their databases to define their breed and biological age details further. Order a kit, send in your sample, and get the results back in two to three weeks. Visit Embark DNA’s Website and EasyDNA’s website to learn more and buy a test.

Below is a dog life expectancy chart sorted by the most popular registered breeds in the US. The average dog lifespans that we include in this list are based on the most beloved breeds from the AKC’s most recent list.

2021 Popularity Rank Dog Breed Average Lifespan
1 Labrador Retriever 11 Years
2 French Bulldog 8-10 Years
3 Golden Retriever 11 Years
4 German Shepherd 11 Years
5 Poodle 12 Years
6 Bulldog 8-12 Years
7 Beagle 12-15 Years
8 Rottweiler 9 Years
9 German Shorthaired Pointer 12-14 Years
10 Dachshund 13-15 Years
11 Pembroke Welsh Corgi 12-15 Years
12 Australian Shepherd 12-18 Years
13 Yorkshire Terrier 13 Years (possibly up to 20 years)
14 Boxer 9-10 Years
15 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 9-14 Years
16 Doberman Pinscher 10-13 Years
17 Great Dane 6-8 Years
18 Miniature Schnauzer 12-14 Years
19 Siberian Huskie 12-15 Years
20 Bernese Mountain Dogs 6-8 Years

What affects dog lifespan?

Comparison: Lifespan of Dog Breeds | How Long Will Your Dog Live?

Do you look at your dog and wonder how long it might live?

Do you ponder how many more years youll get to go for walks or to cuddle on the sofa?

A new in-depth study hopes to help by assessing the life expectancy of British canine pets.

It shows a newborn Jack Russell Terrier can be expected to live longest at 12.7 years on average, with Border Collies (12.1 years) and Springer Spaniels (11.9 years) not far behind.

In contrast, some of those in-vogue dogs popular with social media influencers could break your heart sooner than you think.

Four flat-faced breeds were found to have the shortest life expectancy at age zero – with French Bulldogs only expected to live 4.5 years, followed by English Bulldogs at 7.4 years, Pugs at 7.7 years, and American Bulldogs at 7.8 years.

These pets are associated with several life-limiting disorders, such as breathing problems, spinal disease, and difficulty in giving birth – all of which will limit the breeds overall longevity.

Age lists like the one above (for 18 selected breeds and crossbred animals) have been produced before but this one is the most sophisticated yet because its based on an analysis of a giant database of veterinary records called VetCompass.

Run by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), this surveillance system currently holds information on 20 million animals.

Its allowed Dr Kendy Tzu-yun Teng and colleagues to compile what are called “life tables”. Simply put, these are charts that organise a population into age bands, with each band showing the probability of death before the next age grouping.

Take for example the Chihuahua. Life expectancy from age zero is 7.9 years. You might think therefore that there isnt much point in rescuing a six-year-old Chihuahua at a dogs home because the average age at death for the breed suggests youll only get to spend less than two years with it.

But veterinary records show quite a lot of Chihuahuas will die at a young age, pulling down that average life expectancy. And this means a Chihuahua thats reached six will likely live a lot longer than eight. We know some Chihuahuas will get to 15 or 16.

“Sometimes a statistic that is a single value, giving you the middle of a curve – its correct, technically, but theres much more nuance in the data and distributions than that. And the Chihuahua is the perfect example of where that nuance is important. Just knowing the middle of the distribution of ages can lead you astray,” the RVC veterinary epidemiologist told BBC News.

This approach will be very useful for people who are thinking about adopting a mature animal or who need to decide whether to pursue expensive medical treatment for their ageing pet. The owner will now be able to make a much more informed and finessed decision. With insurance for pets ever more common, actuaries will be keen readers of the new tables.

Dr Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association, commented: “These life tables offer an important insight into the life expectancy of popular dog breeds in the UK and will be a useful tool for vets and pet owners in assessing dog welfare.

“A concerning finding is the lower life expectancy for flat-faced breeds. While the study doesnt prove a direct link between these breeds potential welfare issues and shorter length of life, the findings serve as a fresh reminder for prospective dog owners to choose a breed based on health, not looks.”

Dr ONeill echoed Dr Shottons view on flat-faced breeds, but added that the very low life expectancy seen in the tables for the French Bulldog in particular is likely biased to some degree by its rapid rise in popularity. Because numbers have shot up in the French Bulldog population, its hard to properly gauge their longevity just yet.

The number of Kennel Club-registered French Bulldogs in the UK rose steeply from 2,771 in 2011 to 39,266 in 2020.

“This means that there are more young animals in this population, on average, than there are in other breeds. Therefore, there are more young animals available to die. Therefore, it biases or pushes down the kind of median or average lifespan,” explained Dr ONeill.

“Over time, as we collect more data, their lifespan probably wont be as low as four and a half years. But I doubt its going to go above what the Pug and English Bulldog have arrived at.”

Dr Tzu-yun Teng is affiliated to the National Taiwan University. Hers and Dr ONeills study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.